John Hope Franklin

Drew Faust | President, Harvard University

John Hope Franklin: Race and the Meaning of America

Over a very long career, John Hope Franklin was an exemplary engaged scholar; he used the historian’s craft to challenge and overturn readings of U.S. history that denied or justified the reality of racial oppression.

Drew Faust, President of Harvard, has written a powerful tribute to Franklin in his centennial year.   While Faust has drawn the ire of activists for refusing to divest Harvard of its holdings of fossil fuel companies, she writes here as an historian who has never shied away from the realities of racial injustice:

Many Americans in 2015 seem to be undertaking an unprecedentedly clear-eyed look at the nation’s past, at the legacy of slavery and race that has made us anything but a colorblind society. There could be no more fitting tribute to John Hope Franklin’s one hundredth birthday than this collective stock-taking, for no one has done more to delineate the contours of that shameful legacy and to insist upon its importance to America’s present and future.”

Read more from Faust.

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